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10 Tips for Teaching English Abroad to Adults


Teaching English abroad to adults and how to do it!

When teaching ESL to adults, teachers often find eager students who are impatient to master their new language and demonstrate their skills. It is important not to rush and use solid methods and provide a useful, practical vocabulary.

  • Become familiar with the culture of your students and avoid any cultural taboos. For example, should you be discussing politics or religion if these are sensitive topics in your host country?
  • Make a connection. Share a bit of yourself and get to know a little something of your student’s personal lives. Do they have children? Do they enjoy a hobby? Are they married?
  • Encourage participation in an accepting environment. Create a comfort level within the classroom where mistakes are expected and not a big deal. Focus on the positive.
  • Skip the kid stuff. Don’t use materials designed for children. It is inappropriate. But do take advantage of traditional tools such as flashcards, but designed on an adult level.
  • Use videos so students can see English in action. Find videos with relevant conversations between people who are shopping, conducting business, reviewing a book or movie, etc.
  • Let the students do the talking. In other words, as a teacher teaching a language, you should actually talk less, letting the students practice and strut their stuff.
  • Encourage list making. It is a great way to expand a student’s vocabulary in a convenient format that they can take along with them everywhere.
  • Create conversation diaries. At the end of each day, have students jot down in a journal the conversations they had throughout the day in their own native language. As an exercise, recreate these conversations in an English translation version.
  • Include public speaking time as part of class time. Although conversational English may be the goal, it is also important for students to gain the confidence that comes with the opportunity to speak formally and publicly. They can recite poetry or passages from historical text. They can read a newspaper article. The possibilities are endless.
  • Play games. Use authentic games that are Western favorites that require some limited reading skills such as: Monopoly, Life, Scrabble, Clue, etc.